We interrupt our regular news bulletin about our FLOSS-centric security-focused laptops and phones to bring you this special announcement about a recent temporary outage of our primary domain name. Read more
We have spent the last two months building our design team for the Librem 5 Phone project. We have been studying the current state of mobile design within the free software community as well as large companies that have shown success in mobile. We have been in the planning phases of development attempting to produce an ethically designed device and now that we have a working prototype we have shifted to the process of designing User Interfaces (UI) and User eXperience (UX) for the Librem 5.
New members on the design team
Upon successful completion of our funding campaign, we started to look for a Designer to take care of the user experience for the Librem 5, and a web developer to help us improve the look & feel (and more technical parts) of our website in general. Today, I’m glad to finally welcome them publicly!
- Our new UI & UX Designer is Peter Kolaković, who is very talented and had already gotten involved during the campaign by creating amazing concept art (that we ended up displaying on the campaign page and that became the basis for our potential look and feel of the Librem 5).
- Our new Web Designer is Eugen Rochko, the web development wizard who already proved his skills by creating Mastodon.
We had a huge amount of talented and motivated applicants who were perfectly aligned with our philosophy of digital ethics, and so picking only two was a very difficult decision to make. Thank you to all of those who applied! We appreciate your interest, motivation, and ideas!
Unified look for PureOS devices
Peter has also been working on the look and feel of PureOS in an effort to make our systems convergent across devices: phone, tablet and laptop.
Our approach to convergence is that mobile is the motivating factor for all other platforms. We are aware that usability is different from a small touchscreen to a laptop monitor with a mouse and keyboard. We want to improve the user experience through ease of use, by creating a graphical environment that doesn’t require a steep learning curve when switching between devices. This approach is also helpful to developers who don’t want to maintain too many different outputs. Mobile design brings efficiency and simplicity first.
The general appearance of the user interface we’ll be designing is expected to follow current visual design approaches in the mobile industry. We expect our design to have a minimalistic aesthetic by default.
We are starting work on a dark theme (a “light” one will be designed as well). Here are a few mockups that we are working on (click to enlarge):
Community involvement approach
We want any of our Librem 5 UI/UX design and development work to be a direct contribution back to the parent projects that they are based on. You may be aware that we have partnered with both the KDE and GNOME projects, and so we wish to make the Librem 5 a mobile platform where the user can have a choice of Desktop Environments. Of course, KDE and GNOME are currently at fairly different levels of development with regards to mobile user experience:
- KDE already has a beautiful and full-featured mobile interface (that our dev team is busy on making work on the Librem 5 hardware). Whatsmore, from a design standpoint, the KDE design team has done a great job developing a set of clean, touch driven user interfaces that make it a pleasant and functional mobile environment already; there is not much to add to KDE except for a graphical touch interface specific to PureOS. Purism’s contribution to KDE may be generally focused on hardware integration and testing, rather than design.
- GNOME developers’ resources have not been focused on mobile user experience per se, so there is more work required to make GNOME production ready for a convergent Librem 5. In an effort to bring convergence across our devices which already run PureOS with GNOME, we are hoping to contribute design and software development efforts to the GNOME project. Our teams will develop and design the missing mobile components and improve the existing ones.
This is what free software is all about—not just taking existing work “as is” but adjusting and improving things that we send back for everyone to benefit from. We’re looking forward to giving development back to these two free software giants!
As I said in a previous post, we are working on producing an “ethical design” that:
- Respects Human Rights by using free/libre technologies and contributing to them for the profit of everyone.
- Respects Human Effort by unifying the user experience, making convergent designs based on a “Mobile First” approach that favors efficiency and simplicity.
- Respects Human Experience by designing a modern, clean and efficient look for PureOS.
We are happy to announce that we have recently deployed our new forums, running Discourse! The provide a modern, pleasant-to-use dedicated discussion tool. We have tested them out with early adopters over the past few weeks, and they are a real joy to use. You can now participate too, at forums.puri.sm.
What’s special about Discourse? Besides the official list of features, you may want to read this seminal blog post where Jeff Atwood highlights the kind of thinking that went into its functional (and aesthetic) design, making it quite different compared to traditional forum software.
Our migration to a self-hosted Discourse instance brings many benefits:
- Improving security by isolating the forums from the rest of our infrastructure;
- Much better usability and user experience. The previous forums were cumbersome and frustrating to use, littered with bugs and limitations, and they just looked awful visually. The new ones are much more readable, and full of modern community-enhancing features. Using a forum should be fun, not boring or cumbersome, and I know that Discourse’s design actively encourages a sense of community and self-moderation, so I’m looking forward to seeing the results over time. We hope you’ll love the new discussion tools!
- More flexible community management tools;
- Better email notifications, and less noise (Discourse will not spam you with mail notifications if you’ve been recently active on the forums website);
- Simplifying our main website’s daily management (previously, the forums actually interfered with the rest of the administration UI);
- Better performance and resources usage.
I’m happy to announce that I have put together a new website dedicated to PureOS, with its own domain name: https://pureos.net
I created the PureOS website from scratch and made sure that not only is PureOS freedom-and privacy-respecting, its website would be as well.
- It enforces HTTPS.
- It is Icecat and Tor friendly.
Don’t hesitate to download and try PureOS! Your feedback is more than welcome as we want this fully free distribution to be as user-friendly and freedom respecting as possible. Those two goals are compatible.
I believe the world is reaching a point where the lack of freedom is starting to become noticeably less comfortable than the virtual comfort promoted by restrictive software makers. More and more people feel concerned about privacy, freedom and ethics in general. Most of them are beginning to understand why Free Software is so important (I was/am one of them!) The problem is that many people out there are under the impression that they are not “technical” enough to run a free OS like GNU/Linux, and so, they just give up… we must convince them that things are moving forward in the world of software freedom and that PureOS is as respectful of their freedom & privacy as it is modern, full-featured and easy to use by everyone.
As some of you might have noticed, I have been progressively deploying Purism’s new website over the past few weeks, after some months of small improvements and preparations.
Far from being merely a visual style update, the main goal of this initiative was to reorganize all the contents, to make them easier to find, and more pleasant and interesting to read. Indeed, the existing website had tons of contents, spread everywhere with no clear logic, often buried in obscure parts of the blog that nobody would ever see.
I spent quite a while reading and annotating all the contents of the website, ripping and remixing it into something that makes sense. The screenshot you can see on the right is the summary (without duplicated content) of some of the pages we have reviewed and reworked. And some of the contents are still pending review and improvements.
The new contents organization achieves the following:
- Introduce a clear structure and hierarchy
- Clean up the menus, and spread items across menus in a fully thought-out way
- Clean, human-readable and memorable URLs, based on sections
- Completely rethought blog taxonomy (categories and tags), and exposed posts structure allowing easy browsing based on your fields of interest
- Introduce the “Why Purism?” section to explain our business from two perspectives: our philosophy and our methodology. Add new content to cover the most frequent philosophy and methodology questions we get
- Deduplicating contents
- Reusing contents dynamically (to avoid inconsistencies)
- Turn insightful posts into permanent reference pages to prevent them from being lost and forgotten
- Revise, rewrite, clarify or remove obsolete contents
- Interlinking related pages, particularly in the educational topics of the “Why Purism?” section
- Introduce a ton more imagery, graphics, and visuals to give your eyes a rest amidst the big amount of written contents
- Improved forums notification emails!
A side effect of this: we had to break almost every important hyperlink and URL! However, I put redirects in place everywhere to let you find the contents even if you are accessing them from an old URL.
On top of those content changes, the new visual design I deployed across the website is also fundamentally superior from a typographic standpoint: it made the contents much more legible and readable—not only is it objectively easier to read characters and words all over the place, it is now significantly more pleasant (and thus encouraging) to read anything longer than a few lines. Last but not least, the new design also makes it easier to manage the content layout across pages.
We hope you appreciate these changes as much as we do. Feel free to drop us a line at feedback at puri.sm!
Purism is happy to announce that we are finally able to host our own store! Yes, you read that correctly, now you can buy directly from Purism. This new store front will improve our workflow and also bring more funds directly to Purism for future development of products and services.
In our store you will have multiple choices of how you would like to pay for you new Librem device: direct bank transfer, Paypal, bitcoin or using your credit card. As we are continuing to try and improve all aspects of Purism, we have listened to your feedback. In an effort to aid in communication, our next step is to add a public view of next 10 shipments so that you can see where you are in the queue. But, don’t worry, we take your privacy very seriously and only order numbers, and nothing else, will be visible.
With continued support we hope to soon be able to ship Librem devices from stock significantly reducing wait times for orders. With the help and support of our backers, Purism is continuing to grow as we reach towards our goals of having easy to use and reasonably secure computers & services available to the general public. Sincerely, we thank you for your support, patience and questions while asking for your help in spreading the word of our new store front.
Thoughts or comments? feedback(at)puri.sm
We have added a support forum to our website. This community support forum, that is also backed by Purism staff, is just in its infancy stages, and we plan to expand upon the tools available this as usage grows.
The forum has two categories right now, one for Librem hardware, and a second one for PureOS and software.
As more and more Librem laptops are making it into the wild, we wanted a place where users could ask questions and have those questions (and hopefully answers) searchable by other users.